Almost 50% of the European Union residents work in a sitting position. Despite having a lot of knowledge in the subject related to work ergonomics, a lot of workers do not always keep a correct sitting posture. Incorrect body positioning on the seat and a lack of adequate physical activity in free time cause an increase in the frequency of long-lasting back problems.
This pain is most often located in the lumbosacral segment; however, many patients report pains located within the thoracic spine (‘mid-back) with increased pain between the shoulder blades. A protracted (forward) head position and inwardly rotated shoulders can be observed in these patients. Deep tissue massage can reduce or eliminate pain in the thoracic spine and increase its mobility.
Deep tissue massage (DTM) is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronic aches and pains and contracted areas such as stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
Nearly every patient gets at least several DTM sessions during their treatment course. The reason is that we love our patients, and, while working on correcting the postural distortion or injury that caused the pain in the first place, we also want to give the person some quick relief, so he/she can relax and get a good night sleep for the better recovery.
Unlike classic massage therapy, the DTM is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). Often this deep pressure causes mild pain (or ‘good pain’ as some of our patients would classify it), which is the sure indicator that the deepest layers of soft tissues are being reached and the pain and stiffness relief is coming.
DTM will noticeably loosen muscles, alleviate pain, and increase mobility. Back, neck, elbow or hip – the benefits of the deep tissue massage will go a long way:
- Deep tissue massage reduces or eliminates pain within the thoracic spine and increases its mobility.
- Deep tissue massage increases the mobility of the chest and affects the lengthening of the pectoralis major muscles.
- The effects of deep tissue massage appear immediately after the treatment and last for 30 days.
- Pain can be alleviated without direct work in the place where it occurs.
The study by Bingölbali et al (2023) confirms:
1. DTM decreasing or eliminating the feeling of pain and increasing the movement of the prominent thoracic spine confirm the effectiveness of deep tissue massage therapy.
2. After the intervention with the use of deep tissue massage, an increase in the chest circumference and the length of the pectoralis major muscles was found, this indicates the effectiveness of the DTM.
3. A significant reduction in pain and an improvement in the mobility of the thoracic segment after just one treatment and work in an area far from the place of reported ailments indicates that the source of the problems is not always located in the place of pain sensation.
4. A slight deterioration of the results of therapy after 30 days indicates the the legitimacy of using self-therapy to achieve long-term effects.
In conclusion, it can be said that deep tissue massage is an effective method in the treatment of pain located in the spine; it improves the spine and chest mobility and the length of pectoralis major muscles in people doing work in a sitting position.
Bingölbali, Ö., Taşkaya, C., Alkan, H. and Altındağ, Ö., 2023. The effectiveness of deep tissue massage on pain, trigger point, disability, range of motion and quality of life in individuals with myofascial pain syndrome. Somatosensory & Motor Research, pp.1-7.